ZAGREB, July 2, 2019 – The Social Democratic Party’s (SDP) candidate for President and former prime minister, Zoran Milanović, said on Monday that with his “private behaviour” Prime Minister Andrej Plenković was harming Croatia’s interests in the EU and would therefore have to explain, upon his return to Croatia, whose interests he defended and promoted in Brussels.
“I still hope Plenković can become the President of the European Commission. Only that can help lessen the damage to Croatia’s interests in the EU he has caused with his behaviour,” Milanović wrote on his Facebook wall.
Commenting on Plenković’s stay in Brussels where talks are underway on a set of appointments of top EU officials, including the presidents of the European Commission, the European Council, the European Parliament and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Milanović said that Croatia’s “adhering to the positions of a people’s party” was unacceptable.
“And it’s also unwise, given that Germany, which is still represented by Angela Merkel, holds a different opinion and supports a nonetheless acceptable Timmermans as head of the European Commission. Plenković continues to support Weber, who is slowly denying himself support,” said Milanovic.
He said that because of that, Croatia was at the risk of suffering damage in a potential conflict with the EU’s most powerful countries and reputable democracies such as Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain and others “who are trying to muster a majority for a decision.”
“Croatia is siding with a weird minority group that is blocking decision-making; unlike Croatia, those countries are already in both the Schengen and the euro area or are not because they do not want it. Croatia allegedly does,” Milanović said.
“In short – when he returns to Croatia, Plenković will have to explain whose interests he defended and promoted in Brussels. His or those of some People’s Party members who are worth nothing without the support of Berlin. Not to speak of siding with defective democracies. Croatia must be a western democracy. It must choose who to associate with. Anything else is a road to pitiful Balkan despotism,” Milanović wrote on his Facebook wall.
Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) leader Andrej Plenković is protecting national interests and has secured a strong position for Croatia in the EU, the HDZ said on Monday, in a comment on a statement by presidential candidate Zoran Milanović, saying that it was ironical that Milanović, who had “the shameful Lex Perković voted in and caused a conflict with many partners even before Croatia joined the EU”, was warning of alleged damage to be suffered by Croatia in the EU.
“Apart from evidently not being familiar with talks that are underway at the European Council, it is ridiculous that of all people, Milanović should be the one to warn of alleged damage to be suffered by Croatia in the EU because he was the one who had the shameful Lex Perković voted in and caused a conflict with many partners, notably Germany, even before Croatia entered the EU,” the HDZ said in a post on its Facebook wall.
Germany was one of Croatia’s strongest critics when two days before joining the EU on 1 July 2013, during the term of the Milanović government, Croatia amended the European Arrest Warrant law, preventing the extradition of Yugoslav-era intelligence officer Josip Perković for the assassination of Croatian dissident Stjepan Đureković near Munich in 1983.
In August 2016, a Munich court sentenced Perković and another Yugoslav-era Croatian intelligence agent, Zdravko Mustač, to life, finding them responsible for the Đureković murder. The perpetrators remain unknown.
The HDZ stressed that Plenković, unlike Milanović, was protecting national interests and had excellent relations with leaders of key EU countries. “He has also secured a strong position for Croatia in the EU. And the respect Croatia enjoys on the foreign policy front is evidenced by the appointment of Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić as Secretary-General of the Council of Europe,” the HDZ said.
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